Oil majors Royal Dutch Shell (RDSB) and BG Group (BG.) head the FTSE 100 leader board as investors welcome interim results. Shares in Shell jump 4.2% to £25.93, while BG rises 2.2% to£12.06. Shell's second quarter profits period rose to $5.15 billion from $2.39 billion for the same spell in 2013, despite $2 billion asset writedowns. BG saw first half earnings per share up 9% year-on-year to 69.3c and hiked its divi by 10% to 14.38c, despite ongoing problems in Egypt.

Robust first quarter earnings at UK telco BT (BT.A) despite a 2% fall on the top line are welcomed by the market, bidding the shares 1.5% higher to 393.4p. The telecoms group says it has made a 'good start to the year' with adjusted profits up 7%.

Warn weather knocks British Gas operating profits and drags on parent Centrica's (CNA) shares, down 1.6p to 312.6p. Residential supply operating profit fell by a quarter to £265 million, while Centrica's own operating profit crashes 35% to £1.03 billion.

The termination of merger discussions between Balfour Beatty (BBY) and Carillion (CLLN) sees shares in the former drop 5.7% to 238.2p. The deal collapsed due to doubts over the Parsons Brinckerhoff business remaining part of the enlarged group. Carillion slip 3.8% to 339.8p. Shares looked at the construction sector in June.

High street lender Lloyds Banking (LLOY) slips 1.7% to 75.1p on interim pre-tax profits falling 59.5% to £863 million year-on-year. This was the result of it allocating £1.1 billion for legacy issue charges, which included £600 million for payment protection insurance (PPI) miss-selling. The group remains in the sights of a potential break-out probe by regulators.

Engineer Weir Group (WEIR) became the latest UK firm to count the cost of the strong pound with earnings per share falling 9% to 61.4p in the first half. The shares are down 4% at £25.61 despite the results also revealing a strong contribution from its oil and gas division.

Nigerian oil producer Afren (AFR) slumps 31.8% to 101.5p as it reveals its chief executive officer (CEO) Osman Shahensha, and chief operating officer Shahid Ullah, have been suspended following the identification of unauthorised payments to both men. The payments were picked up in an independent review by Willkie Farr & Gallagher and the company adds no conclusive findings have been reached with the investigation ongoing. In the interim Egbert Imomoh has agreed to become executive chairman and senior independent director Toby Hayward takes over as interim CEO.

Neat underlying growth sees electronic shielding technology supplier Laird (LRD) rally 5% to 281p, showing investor confidence flagged by Shares recently. Analysts at Numis highlight 'an 80 point expansion in operating margin.'

Premium car dealer Inchcape (INCH) accelerates 15p (2.35%) to 652.5p, as better-than-expected interim results reveal double-digit earnings growth and strong cash flow.

Women's value fashion retailer Bonmarche (BON:AIM) edges 3p higher to 277p on a bright first-quarter trading update. Shares recently outlined Bonmarche's growth attractions in the resilient over-50s female fashion niche.

Ceramic tableware maker Portmeirion (PMP:AIM) perks up 5p to 810p on strong half-year results and a positive outlook statement. Generating fast-paced online growth, the Stoke-on-Trent-based company flags a strong order book for the seasonally-stronger second half.

Better than expected revenues nudge telecos testing kit supplier Sprirent (SPT) 1.4% higher to 103.4p. The group's 16% topline jump shows 'Spirent has outpaced market growth in some of its focus areas,' according to N+1 Singer.

Estate agency Countrywide (CWD) improves 4.2% to 536.7p on a 202% interim pre-tax profit rise to £37.1 million as momentum continues to build in the housing market. The group also hiked its interim dividend 150% to 5p and unveiled a 9p per share special payout.

Shopping centre investor Intu Properties (INTU) gains 1.5% to 325.3p. The rise comes thanks to a 7.6% rise in net assets in the first six months of the year, on the back of acquisitions and valuation uplifts.

A pre-close trading update from commercial flooring manufacturer James Halstead (JHD) sees shares adding 3.7% to 290p. The company says trading has been strong through April to June while margins have not suffered as a result of the strengthened pound.

Issue Date: 31 Jul 2014